Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Risk/benefit

It turns out that Virgil doesn't know much about herpes either. We spend some time reading about Valtrex, the drug Tim buys on the internet because they don't prescribe it here. With remarkable restraint, the official website says: 'Living with genital herpes can be a hassle. When you have a herpes outbreak, it can feel like it takes days out of your life.' Tim's herpes is on the end of his cock and it's taking longer to clear up than he'd thought it would. Not that he's had many outbreaks so it's probably just longer than he'd hoped.

Assuming that it ever does go away, I have emailed Tim with a list of practical and unsexy questions. It has taken some of the sexiness out of our flirtation. Although, to be honest, it's not romantic between Tim and me. I know the limits of our connection. This is not a seduction as much as an opportunity.

It's clear that Virgil is uncomfortable with the idea of me having a lover with herpes but, like me, he doesn't want to be the arsehole who writes someone off on those grounds. He acknowledges Tim's honest and responsible attitude. Apparently Valtrex massively reduces the transmission of herpes, especially through asymptomatic shedding between outbreaks. Apparently shedding happens on between 20 and 40 per cent of days within 6 months of an outbreak. This is alarming although of course it doesn't mean that you will catch it – just that they are potentially infectious. Maybe it's time I learned to give a blowjob with a condom on.

Having sex with anyone carries something of a risk; it's just how much of that risk is known about beforehand before the risk/benefit assessment part of the brain kicks in.

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